Scarlett Johansson, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, ...
Credit: Match Point: Clive Coote

Scarlett Johansson may not have earned her best reviews for last summer’s bombastic Michael Bay flick The Island. Good for her, then, that her new film, Match Point, is quite the opposite: an introspective drama by Woody Allen that earned kudos at the Cannes film festival this year. It’s a turn of events that caught the 20-year-old actress by surprise. ”I was in L.A., planning on taking the summer [of 2004] off, when I got this call from Woody’s office saying he had this part available and would I be interested. It was shooting the next week in London,” Johansson recalls. ”I didn’t even need to read the script — it was just like, ‘I want to go!”’

Set entirely in and around London (a rare foray for Allen outside of his beloved New York), Match Point deals with the dark romantic yearnings of a social-climbing tennis pro (Bend It Like Beckham‘s Jonathan Rhys Meyers) who ingratiates himself with the family of a high-class friend (Chasing Liberty‘s Matthew Goode), then pursues both his friend’s sister (Lovely & Amazing‘s Emily Mortimer) and his friend’s fiancée (Johansson). Tonally, the film is closer to Crimes and Misdemeanors than Annie Hall. ”It’s quite dark, actually,” Johansson says. ”The story is about luck and fate and destiny and how all of those things interplay with one another.” Okay, so is there any comedy in it? ”There are parts that are sort of ironic that I think are funny — nobody else does,” chuckles Johansson, who since Match Point has completed another Allen film, an as-yet-untitled romantic comedy, again filmed in London. ”I guess that’s why Woody and I have worked together twice now.”

Match Point
  • Movie
  • 124 minutes